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Turnout low in Nepal's municipal elections
Updated: 2006-02-09 09:12

Very few voters turned up across Nepal to cast their ballots for the municipal elections on Wednesday.

According to the Election Commission (EC), by 12:00 a.m. local time (0415 GMT), only 10 percent of the voters have cast their votes in the eastern town of Biratnagar.

In Dhanusha, only 3,481 or nearly 8 percent of the voters have cast their votes by noon. Similarly, in the western town of Dailekh, only 12 percent of the voters have cast their votes.

In Malangawa municipality in Sarlahi district, voter turnout was over 35 percent by Wednesday noon.

EC spokesman Tejmuni Bajracharya told reporters that the situation had not been normal for voting in eastern town of Dhankuta and mid-western district of Dang for polling. The guerrillas mounted attacks at Dhankuta municipality on Tuesday night.

Very few voters turned out to cast their votes in Kathmandu also.

Polling officers at the Cooperatives Training Center polling booth in Kathmandu said only 203 out of 1,847 voters have cast their votes by 1:00 p.m. (0515 GMT) on Wednesday.

"Unlike in the past, voters turnout this time is quite low," he added.

There was heavy security at the polling center and security personnel were also stationed at nearby houses of local people. Army vans ran frequently in streets while other vehicles are banned for Wednesday.

Altogether 1.4 million voters are eligible to cast their votes during the elections underway in 36 municipalities of 28 districts.

There are 40,000 election centers across the country and 7,698 employees have been mobilized for the purpose, according to the EC.

The polls will elect 34 mayors, 25 deputy-mayors, 197 Ward chairpersons, 291 Ward members and 71 women Ward members.

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